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  • image SM volume 109/31

Reference number

SM volume 109/31


[12/24] Record drawing of the west elevation of King William's Court, with amendments to some of its features and details, suggesting an intention to improve the original design




10 feet to 17/20 inch


In pen and brown ink in unidentified hand from office of Thomas Ripley, West Front of King Willms: Court.; and in grey ink with numbered scale bar; and by C19 hand at both right-hand corners, 31.

Signed and dated

  • Unfdated but datable c.1735

Medium and dimensions

Pen and grey ink over graphite under-drawing, with grey washes; black ink ruled border; on laid paper, laid down; 496 x 732


Unidentified hand in the office Thomas Ripley


Strasbourg Lily / 4 / LVG; IHS / IVILLEDARY


This drawing was probably prepared for engraving at the time that Ripley finalised the overall plan of the Hospital and the design of Queen Mary's Court. It incorporates revisions to the several features of the elevation. The outer square columns of the portico have been changed to round columns and made narrower, to equal the diameters of the middle columns, and all the columns are unfluted. At the top of the central block Ripley has removed the blocking course that runs into the cornice of the central pavilion at an arbitrary point, just above the bottom of the corona moulding. The cornice is now the crowning element of the wall (although roofs and chimney stacks would still have been in view). The outer pavilions have lost their low, elliptical-headed recesses. The tympanums of these curved pediments are plain, and the blocking courses either side have been raised to provide a backing for the squat elliptical pediments. The blocking courses are positioned to produce a perfect square proportion for the elevation as a whole (65 x 65 feet). Ripley has also raised the central blocking course above the portico. The effect of this change is to make the central portico (now more regular in its proportions) a more dominant feature of the composition, and one that more closely resembles the design of the classical temple portico. The draughtsman responsible for this drawing is not the same as for [12/25]. The numbering and convention of the scale bar are different and the wash technique is less even.


Wren Society, VI, pl. 33, right.



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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

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